What’s not to love about Kvelertak’s sophomore release, Meir, a thrashing Norwegian metal album that should be dark and evil (and, believe me, it is) but incorporates ’70s hard rock classic influences (Deep Purple, Bad Company, etc)?

Hard to sing along with since it’s sung all in Norwegian, it’s still headbang worthy and, let’s face it, it’s not like you’re singing along with most thrash/death metal bands anyway. 

This is one of those killer bills that we’re lucky to get in Columbus (thanks Starwood Presents!) and undoubtedly this fine city’s metal fans will fill Ace of Cups to witness not only Kvelertak but Black Tusk (beard-metal from Georgia on Relapse Records), Cancer Bats (hardcore metal from Canada whose latest release - Bat Sabbath - is a Black Sabbath covers album!) and Beggars (Columbus band fresh off their opening stint at the sold out Fu Manchu show). 

This show takes place at Ace of Cups on Thursday. Doors open at 8, music starts at 8:30. $12 at the door.


How many times after a show do you think somebody comes up to the guys at the merch table and asks, “Okay, which one of you is Ivan and which one is Alyosha?” 

Showing my lack of literary knowledge, I didn’t know that Ivan and Alyosha are characters from the Brothers Karamazov and that the two main musicians in the band are named Tim and Ryan.

The folk-pop band performs a style of music that’s really in fashion these days - you’ve probably heard a ton of bands just like Ivan and Alyosha that straddle the line between alt-rock radio and NPR (Mumford and Sons, Dawes, The Lumineers, Hey Marseilles, etc.). 

Also on the bill are The Lone Bellow (“Brooklyn country music”), Twin Forks (the folk-rock band featuring Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional) and locals Deadwood Floats

At $12, this show’s a steal. The Basement doors open at 8pm on Wednesday and with a packed bill, expect music to kick off shortly thereafter.


Working on some big changes for Columbus Calling. Hoping to relaunch site sometime around May 1, maybe earlier. 

Stay tuned.


A little deception … putting the girl in the center of the band photo might lead one to believe that the girl is the lead singer. Not so in the case of this dreamy pop band from Chicago/Minneapolis, where Nate Eiesland handles vocals.

Heavy on the synths, On and On’s debut has many pleasant slowburners, light with electronic flourishes. The band hasn’t (to my knowledge) made it onto CD 102.5’s radar yet but songs like “Ghosts”, “American Dreams” and “War is Gone” could easily fit comfortably alongside the stuff the alt-rock station regularly spins.

What you’re not going to hear are big, catchy choruses; On and On is more about creating a late night ambience than pop tunes readymade for Target or iPhone commercials. 

On and On’s got an April 11 date with Savior Adore at Rumba Cafe - it’s the late show that night with music kicking off around 10pm. $7 will get you into this Benco Presents show.


Meet your new favorite band. CHEATAH’S sound like they hopped into the wayback machine, landed in my off-campus college apartment sometime around 1995, snagged a handful of CDs (Swervedriver, Hum, Ride, The Meat Puppets, Triple Fast Action) to take into the future for inspiration, and set forth on creating my favorite music of 2013.

Well done, CHEATAHS, well done.

These guys (members from UK, Canada, the U.S.) are a ‘90s alt-rock fan’s wet dream and roll into Columbus on April 2 opening for Wavves and FIDLAR at The Basement.

Guitarist James Wignall answered questions I sent him last week.

You find a VHS tape and throw it in your VCR to find that it’s full of music videos that somebody taped off MTV back when they showed rock videos. It’s these videos that inspire you, as a band, and influence your sound. Can you name the first three videos that are on this tape?

Well, we aren’t necessarily influenced by these bands, but three videos that we love are “100%” by Sonic Youth, as not only is it a great song (Wavves have been covering it on this tour actually), but it features Jason Lee and Guy Mariano (still one of the greatest skaters around today) skating around NY just having fun. I’m not sure but I guess it must be Spike Jonze-directed.

”Sugar Cube” by Yo La Tengo is probably one if my favourite videos of all time as it’s basically one long hilarious Mr. Show sketch. It’s self-referential commercial suicide and all the better for it

”Some Velvet Morning” by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. Lee on a horse, Nancy playing a goddess.

You’ve got two EPs under your belt. In 2013, releasing EPs seems to be a better idea –and a better use of money – (put out fewer songs quicker) than trying to fill up a full length every two or three years. What are your thoughts about releasing music – the frequency, the quality vs quantity, and the methods by which you release?

We’re very lucky that in Wichita we have a label that’s still in love with vinyl. As for frequency of releases, we’re always writing, so when you’re not on tour you try and get in the studio and see what happens. The album will be out in June or July and then we’ll start thinking about the next one; it’s a never-ending process. And regarding quality, we only release something when all of the band are proud of it.

I’ve been interviewing bands long enough that I don’t really care how you came up with your band name, but I have seen it most places as spelled out with capital letters. Is that the proper way to write CHEATAHS and, if so, is there a reason for that?

Oh no, there’s no proper way. Aesthetically it looks good in capitals, but it doesn’t really matter

Where is your “local” scene? How – if at all – do you fit into that scene? Columbus is a fertile college town where new bands form hourly. Within the scene, there’s competition for a local audience (radio-station sponsored “Battle of the Bands”-type events where fan participation/voting helps land local bands on radio-station multi-band, high-profile shows) that, to some, feels a bit exploitative and may hurt the scene more than help the scene. Too many bands want to be local heroes and not enough want to make this a career (ie – play shows out of town, out of state, out of country).

If you’re having fun just playing your area, and are happy  doing that, why not? But I would strongly advise any new band to avoid a battle of a bands type thing -music (and art in general) isn’t a competition, and i think if you turn it into that it cheapens the whole thing.

A follow-up to the last question – Is CHEATAHS something you hope to make a career out of? Seeing how the music landscape has changed so much in the last 20 years, bands blowing up the way Nirvana did is much less common. How do you find that happy medium where you attain certain levels of success (and meet band goals) but still are able to pay the rent and not have to worry about whether or not you’ll be able to pay your heating bill in the winter?

As soon as you start measuring success by record sales etc you’re in trouble. And money-wise, we all still have to work occasionally, and that’s fine by us.

What have been the secrets of the success you’ve achieved so far? Have you found any one thing (or a combination of things) that have resulted is more sales, better turnouts, more social media buzz?

I really have no idea, but making good records helps

I read all sorts of magazines and online content about music. When reading CD reviews, I tend to look for comparisons to other bands. I know bands sometimes consider this lazy journalism but it provides context for me as a reader. As I writer, I like to make comparisons to other bands as well. What band(s) do you get compared to that make you wonder if the writer even listened to your music because it’s so far off?

Not really, if people have heard something in us, it would be arrogant to tell them they’re wrong, however weird it may be to us

The obligatory, “So, what comes next?” question. I think I read somewhere that you’ve got a full length coming out later this year. Does it include material from the EPs or is that why you released Extended Plays (so you can clear out the old material and get people better acquainted with your music before giving us something new)? Would you say the newer material is an extension of what we’ve already heard or are you trying new things out as you mature as a band? Any touring plans and, if so, do you prefer these opening slots or would you prefer headlining clubs?

Yeah, the album comes out June or July and it’s all brand new stuff. There’s definitely a bit more experimentation on there. When we get back from the US it will be mainly UK and European festivals, and touring again later in the year, although I don’t know exactly where yet. Headlining or supporting, it’s really all the same to us if we like the bands we’re playing with.


Local Love’s Thursday night concert series at Fourth Street Bar & Grill continues this week with Akron’s Shivering Timbers joining Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes for a free show.

It’s not a bad thing to throw “discovered by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach" on your resume, as Shivering Timbers are able to do and with a gothic country/tent revival sound, opportunities to open for acts like Shovels & Rope, Jessica Lea Mayfield and He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister come up often.

This show is part of a short Ohio tour with a lengthier midwest jaunt through Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa happening in early April.

Expect to hear tracks from Shivering Timbers 2010 release ‘We All Started in the Same Place’ and 2012 release ‘Sing Sing’ when they take the Fourth Street stage on Thursday night. 


NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Songkick is reporting a July 13 Billy Idol date at the LC. I’ll be in Cincinnati at the Bunbury Festival. 


Doing some homework on bands coming through Columbus and stumbled upon White Lung who will be playing at KOBO on April 24. 

Though they sound nothing like Metz (who released one of my top 3 favorites of 2012), my first reaction to White Lung’s ‘Sorry’ (which I listened to for the first time tonight) was similar to the reaction I had when I first heard Metz. This is just amazing, raw, fury rock - swinging limbs and sweaty foreheads.

And you can work your way through ‘Sorry’ in less time than a sitcom which only means you’ll want to listen to it multiple times in one sitting.

Check this one out.

Source: Bandcamp

Bummer. Brian Travis posted the following on the Nick Tolford & Company Facebook page:

It is with great sadness I must report, this Saturday at Woodlands will be my last show with Nick Tolford and Company. I have thought long and hard about this and have come to the conclusion that this is what is best for the band, myself and and my family. I will miss playing with these ladies and gentlemen immensely as I love them all dearly. They have all become brothers and sisters to me and I will cherish these relationships for as long as I live. What it comes down to is, I just don’t want to miss my little girl growing up and I can not sacrifice the time the band needs to move on up to next level of touring and spreading this wonderful music around the world. Nick has been wonderful about working around my hectic schedule and when I had to pass on amazing opportunities, never once got even a little upset. His words were “family always comes first”. Sadly, I can not in good conscience hold this band back and limit their ability to tour any longer.

Now don’t worry, I am leaving bass duties in excellent hands. The part time wizard, amazing bassist and a truly great friend Bobby Silver will be taking over the reigns. I can’t think of a single person more suited for the job. 

Also, this is not the end of my musical endeavors. My band, Barely Eagle, will be continuing to make music as they are aware of my limitations and I have played with these guys in various projects for 17 years. 

In conclusion, you should come to this show. Let’s pack the house, drink all the drinks and dance until we fall over.

Thanks for everything and I’m sure I will see you at the next NT&CO show in Columbus.

Nick Tolford & Company are, without a doubt, one of my favorite Columbus bands and while this had to have been a tough decision for Brian, it sounds like Nick & Co. want to try to blow this thing up which means getting on the road and playing in front of people outside of Columbus. So, if you will, that’s the silver lining in this announcement.


Not sure why, but I thought Ex Cops was going to be some noisy punk band when I heard their name. Initially, the announcement of a March 4 date at KOBO didn’t interest me in the least. And then I heard their music … mixing indie-pop (Nada Surf) with breezy boy-girl harmonies (Joy Zipper) with space guitars (Spiritualized), Ex Cops suddenly became VERY interesting to me.

Brian Harding and Amalie Bruun make up the core of Ex Cops though I think they’ve added additional touring musicians to recreate the shimmering sounds found on their Other Music Recording Co. debut, ‘True Hallucinations’. 

The NYC-based band is working their way south to Austin, Texas for SXSW and making a stop at KOBO on Monday night. It just so happens to be KOBO promoter Brian Ostrander’s birthday and he hooked up some great local support (Tin Armor, Kid Runner) to help celebrate the occasion. 

We’ll see how tightly things stay on schedule but right now the lineup is: Doors at 8, Tim Armor at 9, Ex Cops at 10, and Kid Runner at 11. Cover is $5 which is a STEAL for this lineup.

See you there.